On marriage and car-buying

First – Yes, I’m watching Bones.  Yes, it’s awesome.  Yes, David what-his-name is really hot once you get past the neanderthal-ness of his hairline.   Yes, it gets better as you go.  Yes, I blame you for my general lack of productivity, and also awesome new way to get some brain-rest.

Now, on to stuff.

We bought a truck this weekend.  Okay, technically not until I write a ginormous check today, but it’s in our driveway and we’ve been driving it, so it’s ours.  Is buying a car on that list of the most stressful marital experiences? It should be.  At least when you buy a house, all your angst and frustration and deciding is done in private.  When in car negotiations, though, most of it happens in a glass-walled cubicle that your husband is certain must have microphones hidden all over, so you can’t even really talk, you have to imply (and then he’ll say, “Yes, the eagle flies at dawn” over and over – wtf?).

At first it was great fun.  I get all weirded out when I have to negotiate over dollars, feeling like my ability or willingness to pay is a measure of my worth (seriously) and I hate it.  “Tell me where to sign so I can get this horrible feeling over with.”  That’s me.

My husband is that guy, the one with the ridiculous lowball offer and sad eyes as he tells you his story about how he just can’t pay anymore and then waits for you to come back with the number he wants.  His method of negotiation seems to be informed by the same type of people that write cop shows. You know, *pounding fist* “Tell me the truth!  Now!”

I’m embarrassed and frustrated and want to run away.  He’s embarrassed and frustrated and wishes I’d run away.

At first it was fun because we declared him to be The Negotiator.  I was free to chat and joke and have shallow conversations with the salesguy because when we’d start to talk numbers, I’d say, “I’m the cheap one; he’s the money guy.”  And my husband got to be The Decider With All The Power (which he wielded against the salesguy, not me).

Fun!

But then, as men as sometimes wont to do, he got caught up in the whole winning of the thing.  Anyway, that’s my interpretation.  To be fair, he’ll tell you this is how the negotiation game is played – and how would I know, since I’m the person who signs the thing and runs.  We got to this point where the salesguy’s whole demeanor changed from “what would it take” to “this is all I’ve got, dude.”  And to me, the numbers made sense.  Did the dealership still make money?  Sure!  They’re not UNICEF!  But was it an overall great deal for us?  Yea!

Long story short: a not-happy husband and a very-frustrated wife signed paperwork (pending a big check, so not a total commitment) and got the hell out of dodge.  Nobody yelled, even in the car.  Over the next few hours, they carefully dipped their toes back in the drama, eventually getting through it and feeling okay about the whole deal.  Over the next few days, the husband may or may not have announced to his friends that he got a new truck.  The wife smiled and played along until they got back in said truck.

Progress.

Sometimes being married feels like that three-legged race (I can’t find the link, but we had a few paragraphs about this in our wedding ceremony).  At any given time, one of you is all hamstrung by something – an unwrapping bandage from a wound never healed, a permanent bruise from some emotional thing, frustration at not being as fast or as good or as in-tune as you’d imagined.  It’s hard to be fast and careful unless you know each other so well you don’t have to think about where the bruises are, why the bandages flap, how long your strides are.  Until then, you only have two options: race hard and fall often or slow down and stay upright.

We’re learning.  As a lifelong learner who continues to throw herself into situations where she doesn’t know things, you’d think I’d remember that learning kinda sucks.  You feel lost and stupid and frustrated and impatient.  But I forget, so then I have to remember.

{I’m on the road this week (business trip to San Diego) and next (back to NM for Lasix) then home for a week then off to visit my bff and little bro in DC.  Posting may be light; may be heavy; may be interesting; may suck; may revolve around my anxiety at leaving home, my relief at wearing my supergirl costume, my wish to be back home, my fear about aforementioned Lasix, or none of the above.}

Update: serendipity!  The first line of Penelope Trunk’s post this morning:

Feeling lost is part of being great.

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2 thoughts on “On marriage and car-buying

  1. You will love Lasix. Seriously, it was the best decision of my entire life, hands down. I wish I’d done it a million years sooner.

    The fly goggles that you wear after the surgery is fun. So is wondering what the food is that you’re about to eat.

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